Peace campaigners condemn "irresponsible" Trump over North Korea as Sturgeon calls for diplomatic solution

Scottish CND calls Trump “irresponsible” over North Korea while Nicola Sturgeon calls for diplomacy to “come to the fore”

SCOTTISH campaigners and politicians have warned of the serious dangers of combative rhetoric between the United State and North Korea, after increased tension between the two countries has raised the possibility of nuclear conflict.

Hours after US President Donald Trump warned North Korea that any threat to the United States would be met by “fire and fury”, the isolationist regime stated via the state news agency KCNA that it was considering a missile attack upon the US territory of Guam, where a significant US military base is situated.

The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament described the threats made by Trump as “unhelpful and irresponsible”, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also condemned Trump’s verbal jousting, saying it was “a time for diplomacy”.

The North Korean regime responded to Trump’s remarks by threatening to attack the US controlled Pacific island of Guam.

In a statement made to CommonSpace, Scottish CND Chair Arthur West argued: “Donald Trump 's recent comments on North Korea risk heightening tension.

“The US President has a duty to consider what he says on the public stage before he flies off the handle with unhelpful and irresponsible comments.

“Developments in North Korea are very worrying but careful words and responsible behaviour are required by world leaders at this difficult time. Trump frankly needs to start thinking before he opens his mouth.”

“Trump frankly needs to start thinking before he opens his mouth.” Arthur West, Scottish CND Chair

West’s sentiments echoed those of other anti-war and anti-nuclear activists. Earlier today, the CND and the Stop the War Coalition announced that they would be dispatching a protest delegation to the US Embassy in London on Friday, 11 August.

In a prepared statement, the Stop the War Coalition said: “The urgent priority must be...to de-escalate and pursue a negotiated resolution to the crisis, which major players in the region are trying to achieve and most commentators recognise as eminently possible. 

“Such provocative actions on both sides must end. We must demand our governments focus on a peaceful resolution to this confrontation.” Stop the War Coalition

“This would, however, require a sharp change of direction from both sides, including from the US, which has dramatically increased its military capabilities in South Korea and its military presence in the area. Already this week US B-1 bombers have flown from Guam over the Korean peninsula, joining the South Korean and Japanese airforces in joint exercises. 

“Such provocative actions on both sides must end. We must demand our governments focus on a peaceful resolution to this confrontation.”

“Any war would result in massive civilian casualties and threaten to tip the increasingly fragile world order. That is why we need to see the emergence of a new super power: the peace loving majority in the global population. Our voice must be heard as the world crisis develops.” Jonathon Shafi, co-found of the New Foreign Policy think tank

Activist and writer Jonathon Shafi, co-founder of the recently launched New Foreign Policy think tank, told CommonSpace: “The leadership of North Korea entrench their position by propagating a permanent state of war. Trump also knows that many of his liberal opponents will fall behind him in a war situation. There are therefore immediate domestic reasons which drive both sides to an ever-escalating loggerheads.

“Any war would result in massive civilian casualties and threaten to tip the increasingly fragile world order. That is why we need to see the emergence of a new super power: the peace loving majority in the global population. Our voice must be heard as the world crisis develops.”

“I think what is slightly new is to hear that rhetoric being matched by a ratcheting up of rhetoric on the American side. So, I think this is a time for diplomacy to try and come to the fore.” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Earlier today, Sturgeon also offered comment upon the situation, saying: "I think everybody will be understandably concerned about the ratcheting up of rhetoric. It is not new to hear irresponsible rhetoric coming from North Korea. I think we are all concerned about North Korea’s determination to develop nuclear capability, you know, I would want to see that reigned in like everybody else would.

“I think what is slightly new is to hear that rhetoric being matched by a ratcheting up of rhetoric on the American side. So, I think this is a time for diplomacy to try and come to the fore.

Again, nobody is suggesting that is easy in the North Korean situation. But I think it is in the interest of the entire world to see a stepping back from the colourful rhetoric and more effort into trying to get a diplomatic strand underway here.”

The First Minister is the latest world leader to appeal for calm, following similar entreaties from Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English, spokespersons for the French and German governments, and the Chinese foreign ministry, which released a statement saying: “China calls on all parties to avoid any words or actions that might escalate the situation and make even greater efforts to resolve the issue via talks.”

Trump’s remarks almost immediately triggered a global stock market sell-off, with the CAC 40 suffering worst and the FTSE 100 retreating from a record close.  

Picture courtesy of (stephan)

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